from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being an equal distance apart everywhere: dancers in two parallel rows. See Usage Note at absolute.
  • adj. Mathematics Of, relating to, or designating two or more straight coplanar lines that do not intersect.
  • adj. Mathematics Of, relating to, or designating two or more planes that do not intersect.
  • adj. Mathematics Of, relating to, or designating a line and a plane that do not intersect.
  • adj. Mathematics Of, relating to, or designating curves or surfaces everywhere equidistant.
  • adj. Having comparable parts, analogous aspects, or readily recognized similarities: the parallel lives of two contemporaries.
  • adj. Having the same tendency or direction: parallel motives and aims.
  • adj. Grammar Having identical or equivalent syntactic constructions in corresponding clauses or phrases.
  • adj. Music Moving in the same direction at a fixed interval: parallel motion; parallel fifths.
  • adj. Music Having the same tonic. Used of scales and keys: C minor is the parallel minor scale of C major.
  • adj. Electronics Denoting a circuit or part of a circuit connected in parallel.
  • adj. Computer Science Of or relating to the simultaneous transmission of all the bits of a byte over separate wires: a parallel port; a parallel interface.
  • adj. Computer Science Of or relating to the simultaneous performance of multiple operations: parallel processing.
  • adv. In a parallel relationship or manner: a road and a railway that run parallel.
  • n. Mathematics One of a set of parallel geometric figures, such as lines or planes.
  • n. One that closely resembles or is analogous to another: a unique event, without parallel in history.
  • n. A comparison indicating likeness; an analogy.
  • n. The condition of being parallel; near similarity or exact agreement in particulars; parallelism.
  • n. Any of the imaginary lines representing degrees of latitude that encircle the earth parallel to the plane of the equator.
  • n. Printing A sign indicating material referred to in a note or reference.
  • n. Electronics An arrangement of components in a circuit that splits the current into two or more paths. Used chiefly in the phrase in parallel.
  • transitive v. To make or place parallel to something else: paralleled the ditch to the highway.
  • transitive v. To be or extend parallel to: a trail that parallels the crater rim.
  • transitive v. To be similar or analogous to: claimed that fetal development parallels the evolution of the species.
  • transitive v. To be or provide an equal for; match.
  • transitive v. To show to be analogous; compare or liken: critics who have paralleled the novel's plot to an ancient myth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Equally distant from one another at all points.
  • adj. Having the same overall direction; the comparison is indicated with "to".
  • adj. Involving the processing of multiple tasks at the same time
  • adv. With a parallel relationship
  • n. One of a set of parallel lines.
  • n. A line of latitude.
  • n. An arrangement of electrical components such that a current flows along two or more paths; see in parallel
  • n. Something identical or similar in essential respects
  • v. To construct something parallel to something else.
  • v. Of a path etc: To be parallel to something else.
  • v. Of a process etc: To be analogous to something else.
  • v. To compare or liken something to something else.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Extended in the same direction, and in all parts equally distant
  • adj. Having the same direction or tendency; running side by side; being in accordance (with); tending to the same result; -- used with to and with.
  • adj. Continuing a resemblance through many particulars; applicable in all essential parts; like; similar
  • n. A line which, throughout its whole extent, is equidistant from another line; a parallel line, a parallel plane, etc.
  • n. Direction conformable to that of another line
  • n. Conformity continued through many particulars or in all essential points; resemblance; similarity.
  • n. A comparison made; elaborate tracing of similarity.
  • n. Anything equal to, or resembling, another in all essential particulars; a counterpart.
  • n. One of the imaginary circles on the surface of the earth, parallel to the equator, marking the latitude; also, the corresponding line on a globe or map.
  • n. One of a series of long trenches constructed before a besieged fortress, by the besieging force, as a cover for troops supporting the attacking batteries. They are roughly parallel to the line of outer defenses of the fortress.
  • n. A character consisting of two parallel vertical lines (thus, ‖) used in the text to direct attention to a similarly marked note in the margin or at the foot of a page.
  • n. That arrangement of an electrical system in which all positive poles, electrodes, terminals, etc., are joined to one conductor, and all negative poles, etc., to another conductor; -- called also multiple. Opposed to series.
  • intransitive v. To be parallel; to correspond; to be like.
  • transitive v. To place or set so as to be parallel; to place so as to be parallel to, or to conform in direction with, something else.
  • transitive v. Fig.: To make to conform to something else in character, motive, aim, or the like.
  • transitive v. To equal; to match; to correspond to.
  • transitive v. To produce or adduce as a parallel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In geometry, of lines (according to Euclid in his definition of parallel straight lines), lying in the same plane but never meeting however far they may be produced in either direction; of planes, never meeting however far they may be produced; in modern geometry, intersecting at infinity.
  • Having the same direction, tendency, or course.
  • Continuing a resemblance through many particulars; like; similar; equal in all essential parts: as, a parallel case; parallel passages in the Evangelists.
  • In music: Of two voice-parts, progressing so that the interval between them remains the same.
  • Of tonalities, same as relative.
  • In entorn., parallel-sided: as, parallel elytra,wings, etc.
  • Milit., same as parallels. See II., 5.
  • In music. See motion.
  • n. A line parallel to another line.
  • n. The intersection of a sphere by a plane perpendicular to its axis: such intersections of the terrestrial sphere are parallels of latitude, and are commonly represented on maps by lines drawn to every five or ten degrees (or less distances) between the equator and the poles. See latitude, 4.
  • n. Comparison made by placing things side by side: as, to draw a parallel between two characters.
  • n. A thing equal to or resembling another in all essential particulars; a counterpart.
  • n. Milit., a trench cut in the ground before a fortress, parallel to its defenses, for the purpose of covering the besiegers from the guns of the place.
  • n. In printing, a mark of reference in a printed text, thus ║, used to direct attention to a marginal note or a foot-note.
  • n. In music. See I., 4.
  • To place in a position parallel to something else; make parallel.
  • To make conformable to something else; make the same or closely similar in many or all essential particulars.
  • To match; equal; rival.
  • To show or furnish an equal to, or an equivalent for.
  • To compare.
  • To take a course parallel with.
  • To be like or equal; agree.
  • In archery, having the same diameter throughout its length; cylindrical: said of an arrow.
  • n. In electricity, the connection of two or more electric circuits or pieces of apparatus such that the current divides between them, that is, that they receive or produce the same voltage but different currents. Also called multiple.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an imaginary line around the Earth parallel to the equator
  • v. make or place parallel to something
  • v. be parallel to
  • n. (mathematics) one of a set of parallel geometric figures (parallel lines or planes)
  • n. something having the property of being analogous to something else
  • adj. being everywhere equidistant and not intersecting
  • adj. of or relating to the simultaneous performance of multiple operations
  • v. duplicate or match


Latin parallēlus, from Greek parallēlos : para-, beside; see para- + allēlōn, of one another (from allos, other).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek παράλληλος, from παρά + ἄλληλος, along each other (Wiktionary)



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